• By: Hank Stout
  • Published: May 2015

When you are involved in an automobile accident with another driver, there are two different ways of dealing with your claim. From a technical standpoint, you are suing the other driver.  However, from a practical standpoint, you are looking to reach a settlement agreement with the other person’s insurance company regarding the claim.

If you have suffered personal injuries due to a car accident, you might think that filing a lawsuit and going to trial will give you the best results. But, in many cases, settling your claim could get you the fastest and cost effective option. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), automobile accidents in 2010 nearly accounted for $1 trillion in losses of productivity and life. In 2013, approximately 32,700 people lost their lives, and an estimated 2.31 million people suffered injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reports that the average property damage insurance claim resulting from an auto accident is approximately $3,231 while the average bodily injury claim averaged $15,443.

If you or someone you loved suffered bodily injury due to a car accident, you should contact an experienced automobile accident attorney who will be able to provide you with the best course of action to protect and enforce your legal rights.

The Advantages of Settling Your Claim

Whether or not you decide to settle your case or go to trial, it all depends on the circumstances of your case. A large percentage of automobile claims settle without ever having to file a lawsuit. But that doesn’t always mean it’s the best option. Sometimes, having a judge or jury decide your case may provide you with the best opportunity to maximize your compensation.

Many people choose to settle cases prior to filing a lawsuit because you will most likely:

  • Receive compensation much faster than going through litigation;
  • Cost effective because your attorney’s fees will be minimal or nonexistent;
  • Save time going to, or paying an attorney, to attend multiple court hearings, depositions and even trial;
  • Settling your case will guarantee compensation but if you go to trial, there is a chance you will not get compensation at all.

Document Your Damages and Injuries

Whether you decide to settle or go to trial, you should document your injuries, property damage, medical bills, and even lost wages from the time you missed work. This evidence will be crucial to your claims in both scenarios and will allow you to evaluate how much compensation you are entitled to.

Whether you decide to settle the case, or file a lawsuit, you should contact an experienced Houston personal injury attorney who will be able to assist you in evaluating your claim, give you leverage during negotiations and assist you in recovering the maximum amount of compensation.

About the Author

Hank Stout is a founding partner at Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm. Hank earned his doctor of jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 2004. He was recognized by SuperLawyers as a Rising Star from 2012-2014. He has earned a Superb rating by Avvo, and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To learn more, read Hank's full bio here.

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